Mother receives full donation for daughter’s headstone
Mark Friedel Staff Reporter
On Tuesday, local resident Pamela Haynes began walking with her donkey and Rottweiler from her residence in Mayes County to her daughter’s burial site at Lone Elm Cemetery off Highway 20 near Keetonville Hill.
Haynes said she planned to walk to the cemetery and back to her home in honor of her daughter, Vanessa Swaissi, 25, who was murdered in 2008. Haynes asked public donors to sponsor the hike in an attempt to pay for a headstone for her daughter’s burial site.
Haynes received news Wednesday afternoon that the owner of Inola Portable Buildings, Carl Parson, would pay the remaining amount needed to purchase the headstone from Hollister’s Monument Company.
Parson said whatever amount was left over from the fundraiser, he would pay it. Plans have been made to complete the purchase on Monday.
“I’m ecstatic. When I found out, I couldn’t stop crying,” said Ronni Carrocia, Swaissi’s sister. “We are all very grateful.”
However, the 20-mile hike was cut short after Haynes was stopped by Claremore Animal Control Supervisor Jean Hurst. Haynes said she was stopped for not having an animal permit for her donkey, Charlie.
“My daughter always wanted a donkey,” said Haynes. “The goal was to make it to the cemetery and show her that she finally owned one. But I was told I couldn’t continue through the city without a permit.”
Hurst, however, said she told Haynes that she was allowed to keep walking after a welfare check of the donkey.
“It was more a safety hazard for (Haynes) because the donkey wasn’t cooperating when she was trying to cross the busy intersection. No ordinances were broken and I allowed her to continue walking her animals through town after I helped her cross the intersection,” said Hurst.
Haynes eventually called her ex-husband, Kenneth McCreary, who brought his trailer to pick up the donkey and transport him back home. Haynes said she left with McCreary, but would restart her trek once she was able to obtain a city permit.
At the time of her murder, Swaissi was enrolled in Rose State College in Midwest City, working as an exotic dancer to help pay for school.
“Vanessa wanted to earn a degree in counseling for troubled teens,” said Haynes. “She was willing to help anybody.”
Laverie Franklin and Nicco Barnett were convicted of first-degree murder for the July 31, 2008 shooting of Swaissi.
Barnett was sentenced to life in prison without parole and Franklin a 35-year sentence.
According to the Probable Cause Affidavit, Swaissi and a girlfriend agreed to give Franklin and Barnett a ride. Barnett pulled a gun on Swaissi demanding money, before shooting her.